Queensland has recorded nine new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 with the greater southeast to come out of lockdown, but a new mystery case will send Cairns into lockdown at the same time.
Seven of the nine new cases are linked to the Indooroopilly cluster in western Brisbane, which reached 111 cases on Sunday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who emerged from 14-day hotel quarantine earlier in the day, said millions of people in the southeast will come out of an eight-day lockdown from 4pm.
“So it will end at 4pm, but we are not out of the woods,” she told reporters.
“I just want everyone to have a really good understanding that we are dealing with the Delta strain. It is highly, highly infectious, and I can tell you from my conversations in Tokyo, with people around the world, this strain is sweeping the world.”
Ms Palaszczuk said a number of restrictions will remain in place for two weeks, including a face mask mandate and southeast Queenslanders are being urged not to visit the regions for 14 days.
Southeast Queenslanders will be able to have up to 10 people in their homes and hospital and aged care visited will be allowed.
Far north threat
Weddings and funerals will be allowed a maximum of 20 guests and the one person per four square metre rule will apply in venues or 50 per cent capacity with venues with allocated seating.
However, two of the new cases have emerged outside Brisbane with authorities on high alert over one in the far north.
The mystery Delta case recorded in Cairns is a taxi driver who has been infectious in the community for 10 days.
The premier said will mean the entire city and Yarrabah will be sent into lockdown from 4pm, the exact same time that stay-at-home orders will lift in the southeast.
“All right so, unfortunately, this discovery of a positive case in Cairns is something that we were not expecting, and we really need the residents of Cairns to come forward with any symptoms and get tested,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The other new locally-acquired case on the Gold Coast has low virus levels, so authorities aren’t as concerned about it.
However, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young urged anyone with symptoms to get tested.
“So it is really, really important today that anybody down in the Gold Coast with any symptoms at all, please come forward and get tested, so we can work out what has happened there and whether there has been any spread,” she said.
“That is absolutely critical.”
The risk posed by the Delta variant has also convinced authorities to prioritise vaccinations for daycare and school staff, fly-in fly-out workers, and freight and distribution centre workers.
Ms Palaszczuk says those groups have been added to the “high risk” category meaning they will go to the front of the vaccination queue.
“The Delta strain has taken a heavy toll on our schools and we need to provide the best possible protection for staff and students,” the premier said.
“This strain of the virus moves incredibly quickly, and we need to be just as fast in our response.”